539 Published Reviews
Ghost ‘n Goblins ResurrectionSwitch
While it’s more of a “best of” for the series than a fresh new chapter, Resurrection is both a trip down memory lane, and a new experience that’ll test both longtime fans and players alike. It probably won’t resurrect the Ghosts ‘n Goblins franchise for a new era, but at least it reminds us that both Arthur and his enemies aren’t ready for the grave quite yet.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s FurySwitch
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury is the Wii U port that Switch owners have been waiting for. Besides the inclusion of online multiplayer, 3D World is the same good game that players already experienced on the Wii U, and fans of the series who missed it the first time around will enjoy its hybridization of 2D and 3D Mario gameplay.
Disjunction deconstructs the stealth genre and boils it down to its simplest and most readable mechanics. Mix in a cool cyberpunk aesthetic and interesting if optional gadgets, and it’s a winning formula. Unfortunately, the game stops well short of fully mining either its trope-heavy story or stealth formula, leading to an experience that ultimately feels repetitive.
The MediumXbox Series X
The Medium builds upon a lot of gameplay gimmicks and ideas that aren’t always used to their full potential, but when they do work, they work incredibly well. Controlling main character Marianne as she jumps between worlds is both engrossing and exciting in practice, and the game’s main location serves its job as a setting for horror masterfully most of the time.
HITMAN 3Xbox Series X
Hitman 3 is a fantastic capstone to a standout series. Yes, a lot of what you experience will seem familiar if you’ve played the last two games, but IO Interactive continues to take interesting risks that largely play off while still perfecting the elements that make Hitman so special.
Cyberpunk 2077’s bugs and technical issues certainly hold it back, and with any luck those will be fixed in the coming months. But it’s more difficult to imagine CD Projekt Red doing enough to resolve the deeper problems: awkwardly balanced systems, storytelling misfires, and an inability to merge its open-world action and RPG gameplay into something smooth and cohesive.
Immortals: Fenyx RisingXbox Series X
If it came out a few months ago or a few months later, Immortals Fenyx Rising might have stood out more. But the problem is that it’s coming after a gauntlet of better Ubisoft products without doing much to improve upon the formula. Sometimes, it actively works against itself in what it’s decided to steal from Breath of the Wild, too.
This is a game that honors its origins without being afraid to also modernize them, and though it might not offer enough modernization for some, this is probably the best balance between keeping what works and upgrading what didn’t that we could have gotten.
Sackboy: A Big AdventurePS4
Ultimately, I’m not sure if Sackboy: A Big Adventure will go down as the most memorable title in the PlayStation 5’s lineup. (Indeed, it’s also available on the PS4, though I can’t speak to that version at all.) I’m also skeptical the realignment away from LittleBigPlanet will help Sackboy join the likes of Mario and Sonic as true platforming icons. But there’s no question fans of the genre will find a lot to love here—and plenty of it.
Hyrule Warriors: Age of CalamitySwitch
Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity ingeniously translates The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s world, style, and gameplay into the Warriors formula, and fans of both series will be extremely satisfied with how both are reimagined here. But if you were expecting a more straightforward prequel that truly mined the tragedy of the war against Calamity Ganon, instead of relying on tired tropes like time travel, you might be left a little shell-shocked.
But even if Godfall had run flawlessly on the PlayStation 5, I’d have a hard time recommending it to any early adopters. There’s the germ of an interesting game here, but for all the ambitions to start a new genre at the start of a new generation, Counterplay built something that plays more like a forgotten title from the PS2 era: overly complicated, cumbersome, and ignorant of so many of the design advancements of the past two generations.
While many may initially see it as a throwaway free demo for the features of the next-generation console it comes installed on, Astro’s Playroom is a wonderful surprise whose price does not speak to its quality. Though it certainly does showcase what the PlayStation 5’s new DualSense can do, the game actually has far more value being just that: a game.
Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesPS5
Don’t be fooled into thinking Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is some minor spin-off of Insomniac Games’ PS4 exclusive. Sure, it’s not as long, but the experience is packed with enough new gameplay ideas and design refinements that it feels every bit like a true, substantial successor.
Watch Dogs LegionXbox One
Watch Dogs: Legion pushes through Ubisoft’s generally noncommittal attitude towards storytelling and exploiting current events to create something that feels like a genuine shift, or at least the prototype of that shift. It might be a sloppy game in many regards, but Legion offers a novel way to experience an open world, with its interconnected NPCs and the introduction of permadeath to the genre.
Mafia: Definitive EditionXbox One
Mafia: Definitive Edition is the best of both worlds. Its updated graphics bring Lost Heaven and its inhabitants to life without burdening them with modern game design elements. While the characters themselves haven’t aged as well, Mafia: Definitive Edition, though based on a game that’s nearly 20 years old, feels more refreshing than most open-world games.
13 Sentinels: Aegis RimPS4
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is easily the most ambitious and stylish project from a studio long known for ambition and style. The mix of dialogue-heavy adventure gaming and real-time strategic battles is never boring, but it can often get weighed down by complicated storylines and endless plot twists. Had it packed a simpler yet stronger punch, 13 Sentinels could have been a contender for greatness.
Spelunky 2 rests on the laurels of its predecessor, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It still retains all of the gameplay mechanics and level design that made the original such a satisfying experience. But as a sequel, Spelunky 2 feels a little too scared to expand its horizons. For a game that’s all about taking risks, Spelunky 2 is surprisingly risk-averse.
Tell Me WhyXbox One
Tell Me Why might be smaller in scope and less mechanically complex than Dontnod’s Life is Strange series, but it’s just as emotionally impactful. It’s a compelling story with relatable, complex characters, and yet another example of Dontnod’s unbeaten ability to make players feel something, anything, in a medium that’s increasingly more mind-numbing.
The more players it has, the more likely 2K is to try to exploit them for every little penny. But there’s no real point in speculating, I suppose, other than to slap 2K’s grabby fingers away from the proverbial honey pot. These are questions for the future, a future that may never even arrive! Presently, what we have is a fantastic golf game, and that’s good enough for now.
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo CollectionXbox One
Samurai Shodown NeoGeo Collection has most of what it takes to be a definitive collection of SNK’s legendary fight game series, but just misses the mark in the end. All of the games thankfully play and feel as they should, and there’s a tremendous wealth of quality bonus features included. Unfortunately, its basic approach to online versus means it’ll be harder to find matches among the smaller playerbase.
Carrion doesn’t just flip the horror script—it’s the ultimate power fantasy, packed into a tight, uncompromising space. It might utilize some video game tropes, but it doesn’t seem too concerned with accepted video game values. It’s a 2D side-scroller without platforming, an action game where you dictate the action. The Doom Slayer might talk a big game about ripping and tearing, but Carrion’s meatball monster puts its money where its many mouths are.
Paper Mario: The Origami KingSwitch
Paper Mario: The Origami King once again takes the series in a completely different direction. Mushroom Kingdom is bigger and more alive than it’s ever been, but it comes packaged with a combat system that quickly becomes stagnant.
Ghost of TsushimaPS4
Ghost of Tsushima falls short of the kind of gameplay we expect from developer Sucker Punch at this point, but then excels all other expectations in its storytelling and world building. Protagonist Jin Sakai and the rest of the cast are all fantastic characters, and the tale they tell is one worth experiencing—even in those moments where the gameplay may falter.
Project WarlockXbox One
Project Warlock is a first-person shooter created by a tiny indie team that punches way above its weight. While its reason for existence may initially seem to be for paying homage to its genre’s forefathers, Project Warlock quickly grows into a game all its own, providing an enthralling shooter experience all the way to the end.
The Last of Us: Part IIPS4
Whether or not you consider The Last of Us Part II to be a worthwhile continuation of Joel and Ellie’s story, there’s no doubt that Naughty Dog has crafted a sequel that’s every bit as ambitious and well-considered as the original, with quite possibly the best stealth-action gameplay realized to date.